Mitt Romney, the Grand Old Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, voted to convict today in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Senator Romney’s decision (and accompanying media cycle) stood no chance of knocking the president out of office. The Republican Party still holds the majority of seats (53) in the Senate, and the president was otherwise acquitted along party lines. However, the vote is as historic as the trial has been anticlimactic. In the Senate impeachment trials of former presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, no senator voted to impeach their party’s president.
Speaking on his decision, Senator Romney said:
“The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival. The president withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so. The president delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders. The president’s purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”
The junior senator from Utah cited his faith and impartiality pledge as driving forces behind his vote. Perhaps it was personal, too. Romney has called the president “a phony, a fraud,” and a “con man“—and when the senator attempted to publicly play nice with the president in 2016, it was deeply embarrassing.
This post has been updated.